As the iconic company’s second ship, SH Vega, sails on its inaugural arctic cruise, the cultural expedition cruise pioneer reveals it’s set to return to its roots with SH Diana, its third and largest vessel, exploring sites of antiquity across the Mediterranean from 2023.
Nicosia, Cyprus: Today, Monday the 25th of July 2022, Swan Hellenic released full details of its 2022-2023 cultural expedition cruises, offering an extraordinary choice worldwide as its fleet grows to two and then three purpose-built, ultramodern ice-class expedition cruise ships. Exploring across seven continents, the adventurous and curious-minded can now access unique experiences previously out of reach. What’s more, Swan Hellenic is celebrating the arrival of its full fleet on the waves with Early Swan Savings of 30% off its brochure prices for all bookings made between now and the end of September 2022.
As the 2023 season unfolds, SH Minerva will be centred on the Pacific, SH Vega on the Atlantic and West Africa, and SH Diana on the Mediterranean, Red Sea and East Africa. Swan Hellenic has provided an interactive world map to portray and assist exploration of this unique world coverage.
SH Vega, the twin sister ship of SH Minerva, which recently sailed from Tromsø, Norway, for a season of maiden cruises exploring the magic of the Arctic, will be making her way in a full circle around the Atlantic, coasting the Americas to cruise Antarctica from November until March 2023, when she sails up the West Coast of Africa to the Canary Islands and Western Europe for her Arctic season.
Exceptional highlights include her “touching the islands” crossing from Ushuaia to Cape Town via Tristan da Cunha, the most remote inhabited archipelago in the world. Then there’s the astonishing, timeless world of the Conkouati Reserve in the Republic of the Congo, home to forest elephants, lowland gorillas, buffalo, leopards, chimpanzees, red river hogs, humpback dolphins and leatherback turtles, the largest living turtle species in the world. Or how about the South Loango National Park in Gabon? Known as “Africa’s Last Eden”, it’s a paradise of savanna, pristine beach, forest, and mangroves where you can see elephants, buffalos, hippos, gorillas and leopards make their way out onto the white sand beaches while humpback whales and orca swim by.
Equally noteworthy are the Bissagos Islands in Guinea-Bissau, another exploration opportunity unique to Swan Hellenic, with a fascinating indigenous culture featuring strong matriarchal characteristics and a history of fierce and successful resistance to early colonisation.
Swan Hellenic’s third and largest next-generation ship, SH Diana, will see the pioneering company return to its roots, sailing the length and breadth of the Mediterranean, but then also voyaging from the Red Sea to East Africa and beyond.
Standouts here will naturally be the many historic sites of culture and religion across the Mediterranean - including the lesser-known ancient Roman centres of North Africa - all explored with unusual insight thanks to the talks and company of international experts throughout each cruise. But many curious minds will be no less irresistibly attracted by the coral atoll of Aldabra in the outer Seychelles, home to one of the very largest tortoises in the world and the last surviving flightless bird in the Indian Ocean region, the white-throated rail. Then there’s the typically Swan Hellenic opportunity to discover another Zanzibar, immersed in the comparative tranquillity of the small town of Lamu, steeped in Arabic tradition and living testimony to a fascinatingly different history of colonisation.
SH Minerva will return to Antarctica for a full season before embarking on an exceptional semi-circumnavigation of the globe from Ushuaia to Dunedin, New Zealand, exploring the vast expanses of the White Continent and islands of the South Pacific. Highlights of her Pacific season include expeditions in Bali and Komodo with their vibrant traditions and extraordinary wildlife, as well as to explore the richly rewarding lesser-known regions of Papua New Guinea.
Australia’s the Kimberley will be a massive draw. One of the continent’s remotest, most unspoilt and sparsely populated regions, it was in fact among the first to be settled by humans (around 65,000 years ago). Here, they developed a complex culture with yam agriculture, striking art and some of the earliest boomerangs. Swan Hellenic is offering a choice of four separate cruises to explore the Kimberley’s extraordinary landscapes, fascinating wildlife and unique Wandjina Aboriginal art, visiting unforgettable locations that are inaccessible by road. Think cliff and cave art, Horizontal Falls, humpback whales, mangroves and sea crocodiles.
Indonesia’ s Raja Ampat archipelago is sure to prove another irresistible attraction. Straddling the Equator at the heart of the Coral Triangle, it hosts the richest marine biodiversity on earth. But then, Swan Hellenic has also ensured the alure of Japan is stronger than ever. Voyaging where others can’t, SH Minerva is not only taking guests to explore its justly famous and diverse cities, but also enabling them to discover magical remote landscapes and fisher ports that have retained the vigour of their traditional lifestyles for hundreds of years.
With such an extensive choice across all 7 continents worldwide, the adventurous-minded are sure to be captivated by more than one Swan Hellenic cultural expedition cruise. Every one of them is available to explore now on an interactive world map and the Swan Hellenic website, with the company’s generous 30% Early Swan Savings immediately available.